ICL: Indian Cricket League

Fletcher eyes Australia match-up


England coach Duncan Fletcher believes an ICC Trophy victory over Australia would give an important psychological edge ahead of this winter’s Ashes.

The teams meet in Group B on 21 October and Fletcher recalled England’s ICC triumph against the Aussies in 2004. “That was the first time we had beaten them convincingly,” he said. “From that semifinal we showed a marked improvement, we have an improved record against them and it would be nice to continue with that record,” he added.

Winning the final two games to level the one-day series against Pakistan last month ended England’s run of 11 matches without a one-day win. “That fightback showed real character,” said Fletcher, arriving in India to begin preparation for England’s opening match against the hosts on 15 October. “They were under pressure to perform and in the circumstances some of the older players were now looking over their shoulder whereas normally they might have come straight back into the side,” he added.

England landed in Delhi on Saturday amid a predictable maelstrom of local media interest after a flight via Dubai. Skipper Andrew Flintoff is hopeful that his team can put in a strong performance in the tournament, as they begin by seeking to avenge a 5-1 defeat in the one-day series against India last winter.

“We believe we can beat anyone, we don’t fear anyone, we go out to express ourselves,” said Flintoff, who has not played since ankle surgery in July. “My fitness is good,” he added. “It’s not something I’m worried about. I’ve been batting in the nets at home but I’m not one those players who feel they have to bat, day in day out.”

England have a formidable task to qualify as one of the top two teams from Group B, beginning with a match against hosts India on October 15 and also facing Australia and a qualifying team. “There are lot of good young players in the side, a lot of talent,” Flintoff said of his 14-man squad.

Source:The News

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